A multi-year study published this week in The New England Journal of Sports Entertainmentology confirms what fans of professional wrestling have known intuitively for decades: that pro wrestlers are, for reasons not yet fully understood by science, only capable of climbing ladders at a fraction of the normal human rate.
According to the study — which was based on analysis of hundreds of ladder matches dating back to Michaels v. Ramon of 1994 — wrestlers climb ladders at speeds slower than the average human, sloth or snail, especially if the ladder is directly underneath a dangling championship belt.
In the majority of cases studied, wrestlers ascend one rung every five-to-nine seconds, and typically fail to reach the top in at least the first five attempts.
Intriguingly, wrestlers can achieve sudden bursts of speed when dashing toward a ladder, particularly if a slow-moving foe is nearing the summit of said ladder.
“The reasons for reduced ascension velocity are unclear,” says the study’s lead author, Dr. Robert Ponovich. “It is difficult to quantify, but some data suggests it has something to do with something called ‘dramatic tension.'”
The study also revealed that wrestlers seem utterly incapable of dodging a ladder that is being spun like a helicoptor rotor on a foe’s shoulders — a phenomenon scientists have called Larrycurlymoe Syndrome.